Global Impact Study: Final report & findings released

by , July 2, 2013

Category: Featured, News, Publications

While you’re likely reading this on your personal computer, enjoying reliable and fast internet, millions of people around the world still lack private access to this increasingly necessary resource to function and prosper in today’s world. How do those people connect to digital society? For many, digital inclusion is found at a library, a telecenter, or a cybercafé – their local public access ICT venue. For over a decade, significant investments have been made in these venues. However, their ability to contribute to development outcomes has come into question in recent times, spurred by the spread of mobile phones and other new technologies and applications. The Global Impact Study was designed to advance knowledge in this field by generating evidence about the scale, character, and impacts of public access ICTs.

Today, we are excited to announce the release of the study’s final report, Connecting people for development: Why public access ICTs matter.

The report is the most comprehensive study of its kind to date, based on thousands of surveys, interviews, and other data collected across eight low and middle income countries. Situating public access in the context of national development, Connecting people for development summarizes the study’s key findings, discusses some disputed issues, and offers recommendations for policymakers, public access practitioners, and researchers.

In addition to the final research report, we also invite you to explore additional resources generated by the Global Impact Study’s open research approach. All of the survey materials and data are available for public use, and full research reports and summaries of each the in-depth studies, focused on specific questions surrounding public access, are being released over the next couple of months.

We look forward to your feedback on the report and findings, and invite you to join a discussion on the future of public access ICTs.


Full Report
Executive Summary


Survey materials & data
In-depth study reports & summaries

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About the author

Melody Clark is the Research Coordinator for TASCHA's Global Impact Study. Her most recent work includes working as the Graduate Research Assistant for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Global Libraries Initiative. In her academic and professional endeavors, Melody’s areas of focus include impact measurement and evaluation and how it affects public access program sustainability, the intersection of information, communication, and technologies (ICT) and public libraries, and program evaluation. She is also interested in how research is communicated and disseminated to non-academic audiences. Previous research experience includes case study and field work, in addition to working as a Research Analyst, for the U.S. Public Libraries Impact Study, in collaboration with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Gates Foundation U.S. Libraries program. Melody holds a Masters of Library and Information Sciences degree from the University of Washington.

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7 Responses to “Global Impact Study: Final report & findings released”

  1. Ian Johnson Says:

    This report is disappointing. It seems to do little more than state the obvious, and re-iterate what similar studies have argued for years – the more you provide, the more it will be used. It may have some value in adducing evidence to support such claims, but it’s difficult to accept that it represents value for money. Its particular weakness is that its whole approach seems to have been influenced by a mind-set that pre-supposed the universal existence of an IT-rich environment similar to that in north America. A more useful starting point would have been to delineate the context in which public access services operate in the countries studied – the technical infrastructure; user costs in relation to income; the availability of online content that is locally relevant in cultural and linguistic terms; the availability of technical support staff, software and web developers; and the availability of appropriately educated and trained user trainers/advisers. Taking account of those contextual issues and seeking evidence of their impact on provision and use of public access IT services might have provoked a more objective analysis of the key issues, and underpinned some sound recommendations about the strategies that might be implemented to address them. Instead the report concludes with a bunch of naive exhortations with which we are all too familiar, and which are unlikely to have any impact.

  2. Global Impact Study Says:

    Thank you for your frank comments. I’m glad that you do see some value in the report, though not as revolutionary as you might have hoped. I believe that providing solid evidence is an important contribution to knowledge, and support for decision-making. This report is only the first major output of the Global Impact Study and provides a high level overview of our research, focusing primarily on findings that cut across the variety of contexts we studied. We expect to generate other reports that delve deeper into specific topics and country contexts – these include reports on the in-depth studies conducted in individual countries (you can find some of these already published on the project website), country-based analyses to be produced by the various local research teams, and thematic analyses that examine the data along some of the lines you list in your comment. We will keep your comments in mind as we continue this work.


  1. […] countries, six years, and millions of dollars later they’re now ready to share their results (download full report). Some of their findings directly challenge current assumptions about what works — enshrined in […]

  2. […] countries, six years, and millions of dollars later they’re now ready to share their results (download full report). Some of their findings directly challenge current assumptions about what works — enshrined in […]

  3. […] años y millones de dólares más tarde que ahora están dispuestos a compartir sus resultados  (descarga el informe completo-(disponible solo en inglés) . Algunos de sus hallazgos desafían directamente las hipótesis […]

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